Smoky Split Pea Soup with Thyme Dumplings

Smoky Split Pea Soup with Thyme Dumplings

I’m the type of person that crushes on certain foods. Remember my speculoos addiction? Enough said.

My problem is that when I fall for a food, I fall so hard that I eat it the point of being sick.

I remember when I had a thing for those molten chocolate cakes (you know the ones that are on EVERY restaurant dessert menu). I ate my way through so many (I may or may not have been pregnant at the time) that one day, spoon-deep into my chocolate lava explosion, I got so overwhelmingly nauseous (I may or may not have been pregnant at the time) that I couldn’t take another bite. Ever. Seriously – If you so much as put that thing near me, you’ll need to bring an emesis basin with. Enough said.

I used to be gaga over split pea soup too. Every time I went out to eat, be it a restaurant or a pizza shop, I’d order one. I just loved how hearty and filling it was. But then one day, I was all split-pead-out. I literally couldn’t look at the stuff for years. Me and Mr. Split Pea were estranged, and I moved on to Mr. Lentil.

And then, many, many years later (we’re talking double digits here), I read about a popular preparation for split peas using ham hocks to impart a smoky flavor to the soup. Of course ham hocks are off the table in my kosher kitchen, but the idea got me thinking, and whetted my appetite for my long lost favorite soup.

I did some research and found that smoked turkey leg would make a good replacement for ham hocks, adding smokiness and flavor to the soup. The results were even better than I’d imagined – smoky and savory with a deep, rich flavor! Braising the turkey leg also made it buttery soft – it’s meat fell apart instantly and made a great addition to the soup.

To really up the ante, I added some fresh thyme dumpling that meld perfectly into the soup. The results are so hearty, it’s literally a meal in itself.

Thanks to this amazing recipe, I’m a born-again split pea fan and I hope you will be too. And don’t worry, this time, I’m treading carefully.

1 year ago: dried fruit brie bites
2 years ago: honey mustard salad dressing
3 years ago: homemade granola

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65 thoughts on “Smoky Split Pea Soup with Thyme Dumplings

  1. I am so happy you finally posted this soup recipe. Split pea soup is one of my favorite comfort foods. I am definitely going to try these dumpling!

    1. Smoked turkey is a type of turkey they often sell at the deli counter – like turkey cold cuts.

      You can buy a smoked turkey leg shrink wrapped from Aarons Best in most kosher supermarkets.

  2. I’m not totally clear as to what you do with the turkey leg. Firstly can u use a shawarma turkey leg that’s already roasted. And second question is do you cook it in the soup whole or cut up?

    1. I’m sorry I wasn’t clear on my post. You cook it in the soup whole, when the soup is done, you take it out, remove the skin and break the turkey up into pieces and return it to the soup.

      I prefer smoked turkey leg which they sell shrink-wrapped from Aarons Best just like the shwarma turkey.

  3. I have missed smoky split pea soup for years, and now! I can have it again. Why I never thought of this is beyond me, but it’s great. Thanks a bunch! Kol Toov (all good things).

  4. What a great idea. I’ve used smoked hocks to provided great depth of flavour for a few recipes, including pea soup, but they are incredibly hard to find to find where I live. Smoked turkey legs however are everywhere, and they are probably a little healthier. I will be trying this out.

    1. Well done! The dumplings are brilliant (just made) and it’s a good idea to take out the turkey and let it cool before breaking it up. It is totally logical but for some reason I never did this before, opting to rely on my semi-asbestos fingers.

      A couple small tips — 1. I wait until right before serving to add salt, so I can see what it *really* tastes like and so the taste “pops”, and 2. also just before serving I add some fresh or frozen whole peas. Fun for color and texture!

      I also add more cut up carrots, potatoes and celery 10 min. before serving. (I boiled them for 5 min. in the water I used to cook the kreplach)

  5. I love making split pea soup with smoked turkey. I once smoked a whole turkey just so I could use the legs and carcass to make split pea soup for Sukkot. The dumplings sound like they take the soup to a whole nother level, delicious!

  6. Thanks for responding the other one One more question- when you sautée the bay leaf won’t it fall apart in the soup ? Or will it stay whole so can be removed ?

  7. We’ve been making this soup for over 25 years, my mother who was an amazing cook one day decided to throw in a turkey leg into the split pea soup instead of the ( ham hock ) this is how we’ve been making split pea soup ever since. I also put it in lentil soup.

  8. This soup was fantastic! I searched all over my neighborhood for a turkey leg but I couldn’t find it. So I used a package of turkey hot dogs in the soup, and added smoked paprika for smokey flavor. I heated up leftover matzoh balls from shabbos. This was a big hit with my kids, who never liked split pea soup in the past!

  9. I took your idea of smoked turkey….and used it in hot and sour soup (since it called for pork)…AMAZING! Then another week, I put it in cholent…what a hit!
    Thanks for the idea! (:

    1. Dina C., You mentioned making hot & sour soup with smoked turkey. Would you please share the recipe? Also, have you ever made it in the Crock-Pot for Shabbos?

  10. How much dry thyme should I use, if I don’t have any fresh? Please clarify dry measurements for the thyme in both the soup and the dumplings. Thanks.

  11. If I want to make it vegetarian could I either

    1. put the smoked turkey leg in a bag and then remove it when serving


    preferably –
    2. use smoked paprika instead? how much dyou tihnk if so?

    1. Hi Talya! Sadly smoked paprika is definitely not going to cut it in this soup! If you can do the turkey leg in a bag, that could totally work flavorwise, if you’re only issue is not actually eating the turkey (and you don’t have ethical reasons for being vegetarian…)

      1. Instead of the turkey, you can add later the kosher bacon bits, i buy the pound bag and it would give you that smokey taste with texture.

  12. If I want to make this for shabbos day do I put the ingredients raw in the crock pot or do I fully cook it first and then put it in the crock pot?

  13. Wow! Thanks for this recipe. I just made it and the dish turned out phenomenal. I would never have thought to include dumplings in split pea, but it’s a terrific addition! I had to simmer for four hours to get the peas tender, but well worth it.

  14. What’s the best way to serve this with dumplings Friday night? Should I keep the dumplings in the soup on the hot plate (approx 1.5 hours), or keep them out separate in a bowl and then only add once serving each bowl of soup? Would like the hot if possible, but not sure if leaving them in the soup will make them too mushy? Thanks!

  15. This recipe is fantastic and easy to follow. The soup came out amazing and will probably be a staple for me next winter lol.

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